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United States Court of Appeals

for the
Sixth Circuit

Case No. 14-5297
VALERIA TANCO AND SOPHIE JESTY; IJPE DEKOE AND THOMAS
KOSTURA; JOHNO ESPEJO AND MATTHEW MANSELL,
Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
WILLIAM EDWARD BILL HASLAM, as Governor of the State of Tennessee,
in his official capacity; LARRY MARTIN, as Commissioner of the Department
of Finance and Administration, in his official capacity; ROBERT COOPER, as
Attorney General & Reporter of the State of Tennessee, in his official capacity,
Defendants-Appellants.
_____________________________
APPEAL FROM AN ORDER ENTERED IN THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF
TENNESSEE AT NASHVILLE, CASE NO. 13-CV-01159
THE HONORABLE ALETA ARTHUR TRAUGER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

BRIEF FOR AMICUS CURIAE PROFESSOR CARLOS BALL
IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES



DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON LLP
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae
919 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10022
(212) 909-6000




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TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE .......................................................................... 1
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT ................................................................................. 1
ARGUMENT ............................................................................................................. 4
I. ANTIMISCEGENATION LAWS HISTORICALLY WERE
JUSTIFIED BY SPURIOUS PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC AND
PSEUDO-EMPIRICAL CLAIMS ABOUT THE PROMOTION OF
SOCIAL AND CHILD WELFARE ................................................................ 4
II. LAWS PROHIBITING DISABLED INDIVIDUALS FROM
MARRYING HISTORICALLY WERE JUSTIFIED BY SPURIOUS
PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC AND PSEUDO-EMPIRICAL CLAIMS
ABOUT THE PROMOTION OF SOCIAL AND CHILD WELFARE .......15
III. UNEQUAL TREATMENT UNDER THE LAW OF NONMARITAL
CHILDREN HISTORICALLY WAS JUSTIFIED BY SPURIOUS
PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC AND PSEUDO-EMPIRICAL CLAIMS
ABOUT THE PROMOTION OF SOCIAL AND CHILD WELFARE .......20
CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................ 27



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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
CASES
Bowlin v. Commonwealth, 65 Ky. 5 (1867) ............................................................... 6
Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) ................................................ 13
Clark v. Jeter, 486 U.S. 456 (1988) ......................................................................... 27
Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432 (1985) ......................... 19, 21, 22
Dodson v. State, 31 S.W. 977 (Ark. 1895) ................................................................ 6
Ellis v. State, 42 Ala. 525 (1868) ............................................................................... 6
Gomez v. Perez, 409 U.S. 535 (1973) ...................................................................... 27
Gould v. Gould, 61 A. 604 (Conn. 1905) ................................................................ 19
Green v. State, 58 Ala. 190 (1877) ............................................................................ 6
Jimenez v. Weinberger, 417 U.S. 628 (1974) .......................................................... 26
Labine v. Vincent, 401 U.S. 532 (1971) ............................................................. 25, 26
Lalli v. Lalli, 439 U.S. 259 (1978) ........................................................................... 26
Levy v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68 (1968) .............................................................. 24, 25
Lonas v. State, 50 Tenn. 287 (1871) .......................................................................... 7
Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) ............................................... 5, 12, 13, 14, 15
McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U.S. 184 (1964) .................................................... 11, 12
New Jersey Welfare Rights Org. v. Cahill, 411 U.S. 619 (1973) ............................ 27
Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel. Zimring, 527 U.S. 581 (1999) ........................................... 19
Perez v. Sharp, 198 P.2d 17 (Ca. 1948) ......................................................... 9, 10, 11
Scott v. Georgia, 39 Ga. 321 (1869) .......................................................................... 7
Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942) ............................................................. 19
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State v. Brown, 108 So.2d 233 (La. 1959) ............................................................... 14
State v. Gibson, 36 Ind. 389 (1871) ........................................................................... 6
State v. Hairston, 63 N.C. 451 (1869) ....................................................................... 6
State v. Jackson, 80 Mo. 175 (1883) .......................................................................... 7
Weber v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164 (1972) ................................. 26
STATUTES AND RULES
An Act for Suppressing Outlying Slaves (Va. 1691) ................................................ 5
Civil Rights Act of 1866 ........................................................................................ 5, 6
Fed. R. App. P. 29 ...................................................................................................... 1
Fed. R. App. P. 32 .................................................................................................... 30
U.S. Const. amend. XIV ........................................................................................ 5, 6
OTHER AUTHORITIES
Robert J. Cynkar, Buck v. Bell: Felt Necessities v. Fundamental Values,
81 COLUM. L. REV. 1418 (1981) ......................................................................... 17
J.P. Chamberlain, Eugenics and Limitations of Marriage, 9 A.B.A. J. 429
(1923) .................................................................................................................. 18
Kingsley Davis, Illegitimacy and the Social Structure, 45 AM. JR.
SOCIOLOGY 215 (1939) ....................................................................................... 23
ALBERT I. GORDON, INTER-MARRIAGE: INTERFAITH, INTERRACIAL,
INTERETHNIC (1964) ........................................................................................... 12
Gregory Michael Dorr, Principled Expediency: Eugenics, Naim v. Naim,
and the Supreme Court, 42 AM. J. LEGAL HIST. 119 (1998) ............................ 8, 9
THOMAS A. FOSTER, SEX AND THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY MAN:
MASSACHUSETTS AND THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY IN AMERICA (2007) ............. 5
MADISON GRANT, THE PASSING OF THE GREAT RACE: OR THE RACIAL BASIS
OF EUROPEAN HISTORY (1916) ............................................................................. 8
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MICHAEL GROSSBERG, GOVERNING THE HEARTH: LAW AND THE FAMILY IN
NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA (1988) ............................................... 20, 21, 22
Michael Grossberg, Guarding the Altar: Physiological Restrictions and the
Rise of State Intervention in Matrimony, 26 AM. JR. LEGAL HIST. 197
(1982) ...................................................................................................... 15, 16, 17
A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. & Barbara K. Kopytoff, Racial Purity and
Interracial Sex in the Law of Colonial and Antebellum Virginia, 77 GEO.
L.J. 1967 (1989) .................................................................................................... 4
PERCY GAMBLE KAMMERER, THE UNMARRIED MOTHER: A STUDY OF FIVE
HUNDRED CASES (1918) ...................................................................................... 22
Harry D. Krause, Equal Protection for the Illegitimate, 65 MICH. L. REV.
477 (1967) ..................................................................................................... 23, 24
EDWARD J. LARSON, SEX, RACE, AND SCIENCE: EUGENICS IN THE DEEP SOUTH
(1995) .................................................................................................................. 17
PAUL A. LOMBARDO, THREE GENERATIONS, NO IMBECILES: EUGENICS, THE
SUPREME COURT, AND BUCK V. BELL (2008) ...................................................... 16
EMMA O. LUNDBERG, CHILDRENS BUREAU, U.S. DEPT OF LABOR, BUREAU
PUBLICATION NO. 166, CHILDREN OF ILLEGITIMATE BIRTH AND MEASURES
FOR THEIR PROTECTION (1926) ............................................................................ 22
PEGGY PASCOE, WHAT COMES NATURALLY: MISCEGENATION LAW AND THE
MAKING OF RACE IN AMERICA (2009) ................................................................... 8
Edward W. Spencer, Some Phases of Marriage Law and Legislation from a
Sanitary and Eugenic Standpoint, 25 YALE L. JR. 58 (1915) ............................. 18
THE STATUTES AT LARGE; BEING A COLLECTION OF ALL THE LAWS OF
VIRGINIA (William Waller Hening ed., 1823) .................................................. 4, 5
CHRISTOPHER TIEDEMAN, A TREATISE ON THE LIMITATIONS OF THE POLICE
POWER IN THE UNITED STATES (1886) ................................................................ 16
JOHN WITTE, JR., THE SINS OF THE FATHERS: THE LAW AND THEOLOGY OF
ILLEGITIMACY RECONSIDERED (2009) ................................................................ 21

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Professor Carlos A. Ball respectfully submits this amicus brief in support of
Appellees. Professor Ball, with input from his undersigned counsel, is the sole
author of this brief. No party, nor any other individual or entity contributed money
intended to fund preparing or submitting this brief. All parties have consented to
the submission of this brief.
INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE
Carlos A. Ball is Distinguished Professor of Law and Judge Frederick Lacey
Scholar at the Rutgers University School of LawNewark. He is a nationally
recognized scholar on issues of sexuality and the law. He is the author of four
books, a co-editor of a leading casebook, and the author of over twenty academic
articles on subjects related to sexuality and the law. A significant portion of his
scholarship explores issues of relationship recognition and child welfare.
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
Exclusionary policies aimed at denying entire classes of individuals the
opportunity to marry have been rare in American history. Most of these unusual
efforts have involved deeply misguided attempts to rely on supposed scientific
evidence to justify invidious discrimination by contending that the banned
marriages were bad for society and for children. These highly problematic efforts
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have included laws (1) prohibiting couples of different races from marrying; (2)
restricting the ability of individuals with mental disabilities from marrying; and (3)
denying rights and benefits to nonmarital children.
Proponents of these historical class-based marital exclusions defended the use
of state authority to define marriage and its accompanying benefits in order to
promote what they believed were socially optimal goals in matters related to
procreation, family formation, and child welfare. More particularly, supporters of
these laws frequently justified them by making pseudo-scientific claims about the
well-being of society and children, which they claimed to be self-evidently true.
For example, Georgias antimiscegenation statute was supported by the Georgia
Supreme Court based on its daily observation that children of mixed-race
couples are sickly and inferior. Connecticuts law banning marriage by disabled
persons similarly was upheld by the Connecticut Supreme Court based on pseudo-
scientific claims which it described as common knowledge subject to judicial
notice. It is now clear that these earlier defenses of class-based marital exclusions,
though they had a veneer of empiricism, were in fact grounded in deeply held
prejudices and biases. The passage of time has shown these earlier justifications to
be constitutionally impermissible, morally unacceptable, and empirically
indefensible.
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The history of past class-based marital exclusions has clear implications for
the present appeal. The lesson of this history is that the empirical-sounding,
pseudo-scientific assertions of jurists and counsel of one era may be revealed to be
invidious and indefensible discrimination over time. Those who favor denying
same-sex couples the opportunity to marry frequently describe households headed
by married heterosexuals who are biologically related to their children as the
optimal setting for the raising of children. As a result, they argue that other
family structuresincluding ones led by same-sex couplesundermine the well-
being of society and of children. The ways in which class-based marital exclusions
were defended in the pastand the manner is which those justifications failed to
withstand the test of timeshould bear on this Courts assessment of the present
assertions that denying same-sex couples the opportunity to marry promotes the
well-being of society and of children.

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ARGUMENT
I. ANTIMISCEGENATION LAWS HISTORICALLY WERE
JUSTIFIED BY SPURIOUS PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC AND
PSEUDO-EMPIRICAL CLAIMS ABOUT THE PROMOTION OF
SOCIAL AND CHILD WELFARE

The American colony that implemented the earliest and most comprehensive
regulation of interracial relationships was Virginia. Initially, those efforts focused
not on marriage, but on the legal status of interracial children.
Three decades before Virginia enacted a law banning marriages across color
lines, it adopted a statute addressing the birth of a growing number of interracial
children. That statute made the status of interracial children dependent on the status
of their mothers. Negro Womens Children to Serve According to the Condition of
the Mother, in THE STATUTES AT LARGE; BEING A COLLECTION OF ALL THE LAWS
OF VIRGINIA 170 (William Waller Hening ed., 1823) (vol. 2). The purpose of the
statute was to make sure that the law considered the interracial children of female
slaves to also be slaves. See A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. & Barbara K. Kopytoff,
Racial Purity and Interracial Sex in the Law of Colonial and Antebellum Virginia,
77 GEO. L.J. 1967, 1994 n.127 (1989).
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The focus on children is also reflected in Virginias first statute banning
marriages across color lines, enacted in 1691. That law, a descendant of which was
struck down by the Supreme Court almost three hundred years later in Loving v.
Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), disapproved of interracial relationships by noting that
it was enacted to prevent . . . that abominable mixture and spurious issue which
hereafter may encrease in this dominion . . . . An Act for Suppressing Outlying
Slaves, in THE STATUTES AT LARGE; BEING A COLLECTION OF ALL THE LAWS OF
VIRGINIA 8687 (William Waller Hening ed., 1823) (vol. 3). The language of the
statute shows that what motivated the legislators to condemn marriages across
color lines was an objection to the offspring that resulted from intimate
relationships that crossed color lines.
Virginia, of course, was not alone in enacting antimiscegenation laws. Other
colonies, both in the south and the north, did the same, with several using the
statutory model adopted by Virginia. For example, Massachusetts
antimiscegenation law of 1705 called for the prevention of a Spurious and Mixt
Issue. THOMAS A. FOSTER, SEX AND THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY MAN:
MASSACHUSETTS AND THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY IN AMERICA 129 (2007).
The validity of these laws was not challenged in the courts until after the Civil
War, the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the enactment of the Civil
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Rights Act of 1866. Courts in the second half of the nineteenth century consistently
upheld antimiscegenation laws by contending that marriage was a question of
societal well-being rather than of individual rights implicating the U.S.
Constitution. See, e.g., Dodson v. State, 31 S.W. 977 (Ark. 1895); State v. Gibson,
36 Ind. 389 (1871); State v. Hairston, 63 N.C. 451 (1869). Some state high courts
also held that the equality protections afforded by the Fourteenth Amendment and
the Civil Rights Act of 1866 were not implicated by marriage restrictions that
applied equally to whites and blacks. See, e.g., Ellis v. State, 42 Ala. 525 (1868);
Green v. State, 58 Ala. 190 (1877).
These rulings increasingly reflected a growing pseudo-scientific and eugenic
understanding of antimiscegenation laws. The Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1867,
for example, worried that the legalization of marriages by mixed couples would
lead to the deteriorat[ion of] the Caucasian blood. Bowlin v. Commonwealth, 65
Ky. 5, 9 (1867). Two years later, the Georgia Supreme Court, in upholding the
criminal conviction of a black woman for marrying a white man, proclaimed that
the amalgamation of the races is not only unnatural, but is always
productive of deplorable results. Our daily observation shows us, that
the offspring of these unnatural connections are generally sickly and
effeminate, and that they are inferior in physical development and
strength, to the full-blood of either race. It is sometimes urged that
such marriages should be encouraged, for the purpose of elevating the
inferior race. The reply is, that such connections never elevate the
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inferior race to the position of the superior, but they bring down the
superior to that of the inferior. They are productive of evil, and evil
only, without any corresponding good.

Scott v. Georgia, 39 Ga. 321, 324 (1869) (emphasis added). The Tennessee
Attorney General expressed a similar view in 1871 when he analogized between
antimiscegenation laws and ancient Mosaic laws that forbade Jews from
intermixing different animals, such as the breeding of horses with donkeys to
create mules. According to the state official, a law against breeding mulattoes
was not any more problematic since it was also aimed at prevent[ing] the
production of [a] hybrid race. Lonas v. State, 50 Tenn. 287, 299 (1871).
For its part, the Missouri Supreme Court in 1883 was troubled by what it took
to be the purported inability of biracial individuals to procreate, which was, in its
view, a sufficient basis upon which to uphold the constitutionality of
antimiscegenation laws. As the court explained, in an obvious misunderstanding of
biology driven by raw prejudice, that it is . . . a well authenticated fact that if the
issue of a black man and a white woman and a white man and a black woman
intermarry, they cannot possibly have any progeny, and such a fact sufficiently
justifies those laws which forbid the intermarriage of blacks and whites. State v.
Jackson, 80 Mo. 175, 179 (1883).
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Many Americans, since the colonial days, had understood interracial
procreation to be unnatural. But the views expressed by these postbellum courts
and officials reflected new concerns, ones related to supposed reproductive
barrenness, purported hereditary deterioration, and the alleged physical and
psychological weaknesses and deficiencies of interracial offspring. The arguments
in favor of keeping marriage within color lines, in other words, grew to include
deeply misguided sociobiological considerations grounded in supposedly empirical
claims about procreation and the well-being of children. We now know, of course,
that such claims had no bases in fact and were instead driven by racist views that
rejected the notion that all Americans were entitled to equal treatment under the
law.
Defenders of antimiscegenation laws attempted to legitimize that ideology by
turning to the science of eugenics. PEGGY PASCOE, WHAT COMES NATURALLY:
MISCEGENATION LAW AND THE MAKING OF RACE IN AMERICA 11523 (2009).
Many of those who called for race regeneration and the avoidance of race
suicide came to see antimiscegenation laws as important tools in the promotion of
what they understood to be procreative optimality. See, e.g., MADISON GRANT, THE
PASSING OF THE GREAT RACE: OR THE RACIAL BASIS OF EUROPEAN HISTORY 47, 60
(1916) (contending that marriages outside of color lines promoted race suicide
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and insisting that laws against miscegenation must be greatly extended if the
higher races are to be maintained.); see also Gregory Michael Dorr, Principled
Expediency: Eugenics, Naim v. Naim, and the Supreme Court, 42 AM. J. LEGAL
HIST. 119, 124 (1998) (American eugenicists generally . . . argued for the
scientific defense of civilization through racial purity, using their theories about
race mixing to shape public policy.).
Even after the eugenics movement was discredited for both its untenable moral
positions and its unsupportable scientific claims, defenders of antimiscegenation
laws continued to raise notions related to eugenics and procreative optimality when
defending race-based marital bans in the courts. For example, in defending the
constitutionality of its antimiscegenation law before the California Supreme Court
in 1948, see Perez v. Sharp, 198 P.2d 17 (Ca. 1948), the State raised deeply
problematic and misguided medical/eugenic and sociological arguments centered
on issues of procreation and child welfare.
In Perez, the State first claimed that whites were superior to the other races,
and consequently, that the progeny of racially mixed couples were inferior to the
progeny of whites. According to the State, the marriage ban prevents the
Caucasian race from being contaminated by races whose members are by nature
physically and mentally inferior to Caucasians. Id. at 23. California also
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contended that the biological data showed that the crossing of widely different
races has undesirable biological results and that the parties who enter into
miscegenetic [sic] marriages have proved generally to be the dregs of both races
making it likely that the offspring of such marriages will turn out to be inferior to
both of their parents. Respondents Supplemental Brief in Opposition to Writ of
Mandate, Perez v. Sharp, 198 P.2d 17 (Ca. 1948), 62, 78.
In addition to relying on racist eugenic claims, California sought to defend its
antimiscegenation law on supposedly sociological grounds. The State contended
that the marriages of individuals of different races led to greater social tension
because most people disapproved of them. Perez, 198 P.2d at 25. Furthermore, the
State claimed that blacks were socially inferior, and that, as a result, the
progeny of a marriage between a Negro and a Caucasian suffer not only the stigma
of such inferiority but the fear of rejection by members of both races. Id. at 26
According to the State, in other words, antimiscegenation laws promoted child
welfare because they aimed to protect children from the social inferiority and
stigma that accompanied their parents marriages.
The Perez court completely rejected the outlandish contention that the children
of interracial unions were somehow defective or deficient. Id. at 2324. The court
also explained that whites greater success in society was not the result of their
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mental superiority, but of the social advantages attached to their skin color. Id. at
24. Furthermore, in rejecting the States argument that the stigma suffered by
racially mixed children justified the marriage ban, the California Supreme Court
reasoned that the fault lies not with their parents, but with the prejudices in the
community and the laws that perpetuate those prejudices by giving legal force to
the belief that certain races are inferior. Id. at 26. The court further explained that
[t]he effect of race prejudice upon any community is unquestionably detrimental
both to the minority that is singled out for discrimination and to the dominant
group that would perpetuate the prejudice. It is no answer to say that race tension
can be eradicated through the perpetuation by law of the prejudices that give rise to
the tension. Id. at 25.
Although the California Supreme Courts opinion, in striking down the
antimiscegenation law as invalid under the federal Constitution, rejected the States
purported child-based justifications for that law, the state of Florida essentially
relied on the same justifications fifteen year later in defending a statute that
criminalized mixed-race cohabitation. See McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U.S. 184
(1964).
In particular, the State claimed that the statute prevented the infliction of
psychological and social harm on children born from interracial relationships. Brief
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of Appellee, McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U.S. 184 (1964), at 4142. Florida argued
that its interest in avoiding such harm was enough to justify the enactment of
antimiscegenation laws and that, as a result, it was also enough to justify the
interracial cohabitation ban. The States brief explained that
it is well known that both the white and the negro race tend to shun
the offspring of interracial marriages. . . . The need of offspring to
identify with others is a well understood psychological factor in
present times. The interracial offspring are not fully accepted by either
race. There is therefore a clear psychological handicap problem
among interracial offspring.

Id. at 42. According to the State, the psychological handicaps of children born of
negro-white parentage were enough to uphold the constitutionality of its statute.
Id. at 44.
Virginia raised the same concerns about procreation and child welfare in
defending its antimiscegenation law in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967). Its
brief to the Supreme Court in Loving quoted extensively from a then recently
published book by Albert I. Gordon, a rabbi who was trained as a sociologist.
ALBERT I. GORDON, INTER-MARRIAGE: INTERFAITH, INTERRACIAL, INTERETHNIC
(1964). Claiming that the marriages of mixed-race couples were more likely to end
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in divorce than same-race ones, Gordon argued that interracial unions should be
avoided because they harmed children. Gordon explained that
[p]ersons anticipating cross-marriages, however much in love they
may be, have an important obligation to unborn children. It is not
enough to say that such children will have to solve their own problems
when the time comes. Intermarriage frequently produces major
psychological problems that are not readily solvable for the children
of the intermarried . . . . [I]t is not likely that the child will come
through the maze of road blocks without doing some damage to
himself.

Id. at 354 (quoted in Brief of Appellee, Loving v. Virginia, U.S. Supreme Court,
388 U.S. 1 (1967), at Appendix B). Gordon added that the children of marriages
that crossed racial lines were often disturbed, frustrated and unable to believe that
they can live normal, happy lives. Id. at 370 (quoted in Brief of Appellee, Loving
v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), at Appendix B).
The state of Virginia, in a deeply ironic move, also defended its
antimiscegenation law by analogizing between the psychological harm to children
that it contended was caused by the social stigma that followed whenever
marriages crossed color lines and the ways in which segregated schools harmed
black children as recognized by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of
Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). Virginia took the position, rather implausibly, that
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the goal of promoting (what it believed) was in childrens best interests allowed it
to rely on the Courts landmark racial equality ruling to defend a law grounded in
the perceived racial inferiority of blacks. Brief of Appellee, Loving v. Virginia, 388
U.S. 1 (1967), at 35.
Finally, Virginia also raised medical/eugenic justifications for its
antimiscegenation law. Its brief in Loving, quoting from a 1959 opinion by the
Louisiana Supreme Court, claimed that a state statute which prohibits
intermarriage or cohabitation between members of different races . . . falls squarely
within the police power of the state, which has an interest in maintaining the purity
of the races and in preventing the propagation of half-breed children. Id. (quoting
State v. Brown, 108 So.2d 233, 234 (La. 1959)).
In sum, the history of antimiscegenation laws in this country is littered with
repeated efforts to defend them on the ground that they were beneficial to society
because they purportedly advanced the well-being of children. Those efforts were
frequently supported by pseudo-scientific claims that tried to give the policies a
veneer of empiricism.
For purposes of assessing the justifications advanced to support the class-
based marital exclusion at issue on this appeal, this Court may note that those
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earlier efforts to defend antimiscegenation laws have not withstood the test of time.
The Supreme Court in Loving saw right through such efforts. Antimiscegenation
laws, the Court concluded, were patently unconstitutional becauserather than
promoting the welfare of society or of childrenthey were measures designed to
maintain White Supremacy. Loving, 388 U.S. at 11 (footnote omitted).
II. LAWS PROHIBITING DISABLED INDIVIDUALS FROM
MARRYING HISTORICALLY WERE JUSTIFIED BY SPURIOUS
PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC AND PSEUDO-EMPIRICAL CLAIMS
ABOUT THE PROMOTION OF SOCIAL AND CHILD WELFARE

Supporters of statutes prohibiting cognitively disabled individuals from
marrying, which were first enacted at the end of the nineteenth century, also
defended them on the grounds that they optimized human reproduction and
minimized the chances that children would develop physical and psychological
deficiencies.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, there was a prevailing
understanding that mentally disabled individuals, through treatment and care in
specialized institutions (i.e., asylums), could lead happy and productive lives.
Michael Grossberg, Guarding the Altar: Physiological Restrictions and the Rise of
State Intervention in Matrimony, 26 AM. JR. LEGAL HIST. 197, 219 (1982). But in
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the second half of the nineteenth century, in particular after the eugenic notion of
improving the human race by discouraging procreation among certain classes of
individuals began to take hold among a growing number of policymakers and
experts, there was a shift from treating mental illness to preventing the birth of
individuals with cognitive and other disabilities. Id.
One way of achieving this goal was through the forced sterilization of those
who were deemed to be feebleminded. See generally PAUL A. LOMBARDO,
THREE GENERATIONS, NO IMBECILES: EUGENICS, THE SUPREME COURT, AND BUCK
V. BELL (2008). Those who embraced the view that eugenics made for a better and
more productive society also came to see marriage bans as a way of avoiding the
social costs associated with the birth of mentally disabled individuals. Michael
Grossberg, Guarding the Altar, at 219 (Stringent and well-enforced marriage
standards for conjugal fitness became one widely advocated method of intervening
in the reproductive process to prevent the birth of feebleminded children.). As one
constitutional scholar starkly put it in 1886, if the blood of either of the parties to
a marriage is tainted with insanity there is imminent danger of its transmission to
the offspring, and through the procreation of imbecile children the welfare of the
state is more or less threatened. Id. (quoting CHRISTOPHER TIEDEMAN, A TREATISE
ON THE LIMITATIONS OF THE POLICE POWER IN THE UNITED STATES 536 (1886)).
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The first law specifically aimed at excluding the so-called feebleminded from
marriage was a criminal statute enacted by the Connecticut legislature in 1896.
That law prohibited the marriages of epileptics, imbeciles, and the
feebleminded. Robert J. Cynkar, Buck v. Bell: Felt Necessities v.
Fundamental Values, 81 COLUM. L. REV. 1418, 1432 (1981). The legislation only
applied if the female partner was under the age of forty-five, making it clear that it
was driven by procreative concerns. See id. In the years that followed, several
states, including Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio, adopted similar
statutes. Grossberg, Guarding the Altar, at 221. Two states, South Dakota and
Nebraska, were even more draconian: they required all mentally disabled
individuals to register with the State and prohibited them from marrying unless one
of the wedding partners was infertile. EDWARD J. LARSON, SEX, RACE, AND
SCIENCE: EUGENICS IN THE DEEP SOUTH 22 (1995).
As with race-based marital restrictions, supporters of the disability marriage
bans attempted to legitimize them by pointing to scientific claims that were in
reality nothing more than barely hidden expressions of invidious prejudice against
individuals with disabilities. For example, a supporter of the disability marriage
bans wrote in the ABA Journal in 1923 that they were based not on historical rules
. . . but on scientific facts. [They are] directed against two evils, the bringing into
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the world of children with hereditary taints and the protection of the public health
by preventing the spread of disease through marriage. J.P. Chamberlain, Eugenics
and Limitations of Marriage, 9 A.B.A. J. 429, 429 (1923).
Many legal commentators in the first decades of the twentieth century agreed
that the state possessed an expansive authority to impose marital restrictions in
order to promote the safety and health of the public. As one author explained in the
Yale Law Journal in 1915, marriage is a matter of general or common right, [and
as such] is so firmly bound up with the very life of the state and with its social,
moral and economic welfare as to be distinctively and preminently within the
police power. Edward W. Spencer, Some Phases of Marriage Law and
Legislation from a Sanitary and Eugenic Standpoint, 25 YALE L. JR. 58, 64 (1915).
The author added that that power unquestionably permitted the government to
legislate for the protection of the public or posterity through the prevention of
diseased or degenerate offspring. Id.
Unfortunately, some courts in the early twentieth century accepted the deeply
misguided and prejudiced claims made by supporters of disability marriage bans.
For example, the Connecticut Supreme Court, in a 1905 case involving the
application of the ban to an epileptic man who attempted to marry, explained that
epilepsy is a disease of a peculiarly serious and revolting character, tending to
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weaken mental force, and often descending from parent to child, or entailing upon
the offspring of the sufferer some other grave form of nervous malady, is a matter
of common knowledge, of which courts will take judicial notice. Gould v. Gould,
61 A. 604, 60405 (Conn. 1905). The court concluded that the statutes objectives
were reasonable since the law applied to a class [of individuals] capable of
endangering the health of families and adding greatly to the sum of human
suffering. Id. at 605.
This kind of reasoning has been entirely repudiated today. Not only does the
forced sterilization of individuals raise serious constitutional issues, see Skinner v.
Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942), but the Supreme Court has made clear that
individuals with disabilities have constitutional and statutory rights that protect
them from invidious discrimination. See, e.g., Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel. Zimring,
527 U.S. 581, 600 (1999) (holding that the unjustified segregation of mentally
disabled individuals in government facilities violates the American with
Disabilities Act); Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 44849
(1985) (holding that treating disabled individuals on the basis of prejudice and fear
violates the Equal Protection Clause). It goes without saying, therefore, that courts
would today completely reject the pseudo-scientific arguments about promoting
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the well-being of society and children that were used in the past by defenders of
disability marriage bans.
The disability marriage bans are another example of the rare, but nonetheless
deeply troubling, efforts in American history to deny an entire class of individuals
the opportunity to marry based on pseudo-scientific claims about how best to
promote family optimality, child welfare, and the social good.
This history has clear implications for the Courts assessment of the arguments
advanced in support of the class-based marital exclusion at issue on this appeal. As
with race-based marital restrictions, the passage of time has allowed us to see what
should have been clear when the disability marital bans were enacted: that the
effort to prevent cognitively disabled individuals from marrying was a reflection of
invidious prejudices and a failure to accept the equal dignity of a class of citizens.
III. UNEQUAL TREATMENT UNDER THE LAW OF NONMARITAL
CHILDREN HISTORICALLY WAS JUSTIFIED BY SPURIOUS
PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC AND PSEUDO-EMPIRICAL CLAIMS
ABOUT THE PROMOTION OF SOCIAL AND CHILD WELFARE

Marital laws that have purportedly sought to promote the social good by
accounting for procreative and child welfare considerations have not been limited
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to outright bans. Those considerations also played crucial roles in defending laws
disadvantaging children born outside of marriage.
The American colonies followed English law in distinguishing between
children born in wedlock, who were legitimate and could inherit property from
their parents, and children born outside of marriage, who were illegitimate and
could not inherit from anyone. MICHAEL GROSSBERG, GOVERNING THE HEARTH:
LAW AND THE FAMILY IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA 19798 (1988). Children
born out of wedlock were considered to be filius nullius, that is, the child and the
heir of no one. Id. In colonial America, as in England, the parents of illegitimate
children (in particular mothers) were subject to punishment, including fines,
imprisonment, and even public whippings, for what society deemed to be their
sexual sins. JOHN WITTE, JR., THE SINS OF THE FATHERS: THE LAW AND THEOLOGY
OF ILLEGITIMACY RECONSIDERED 139 (2009).
The dawn of the nineteenth century saw the introduction of legal reforms
aimed at reducing the number of so-called illegitimate (hereafter nonmarital)
children and at mitigating some of their legal disabilities. Although English law did
not allow for the legitimization of children through the parents subsequent
marriage or the fathers acknowledgment of paternity, some American states
beginning in the early 1800s enacted laws providing for one or both of these
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avenues to legitimization. GROSSBERG, GOVERNING THE HEARTH 20007. The
advent of common law marriages and the judicial application of a strong
presumption that the children of married women were also the children of their
husbands contributed to further reducing the number of nonmarital children. Id. In
addition, some states began allowing nonmarital children to inherit from their
mothers (but not their fathers). Id.
The push to reform laws affecting nonmarital children, however, stalled during
the second half of the nineteenth century. As the legal historian Michael Grossberg
explains, the post-1850 American obsession with improving family life
reinvigorated the use of the law to separate illegitimate from legitimate offspring . .
. . The belief that discriminatory laws reinforced legitimate families and deterred
spurious birth inhibited [additional] reform efforts. Id. at 22829.]
By the turn of the twentieth century, eugenic ideas began to be reflected in
prevailing understandings of illegitimacy, in particular the notion that the
phenomenon was largely caused by the mental defective[ness] and
feeblemindedness of single mothers. See, e.g., PERCY GAMBLE KAMMERER, THE
UNMARRIED MOTHER: A STUDY OF FIVE HUNDRED CASES (1918); EMMA O.
LUNDBERG, CHILDRENS BUREAU, U.S. DEPT OF LABOR, BUREAU PUBLICATION
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NO. 166, CHILDREN OF ILLEGITIMATE BIRTH AND MEASURES FOR THEIR PROTECTION
(1926).
Many supporters of the differential treatment of nonmarital children also
claimed that the discrimination was necessary in order to promote social welfare
and family optimality. The prominent sociologist Kingsley Davis articulated this
view in 1939 when he wrote that:
[T]he function of reproduction can be carried out in a socially useful
manner only if it is performed in conformity with institutional
patterns, because only by means of an institutional system can
individuals be organized and taught to co-operate in the performance
of this long-range function, and the function be integrated with other
social functions. The reproductive or familial institutions constitute
the social machinery in terms of which the creation of new members
is supposed to take place. The birth of children in ways that do not fit
into this machinery must necessarily receive the disapproval of
society, else the institutional system itself, which depends upon
favorable attitudes in individuals, would not be approved or sustained.

Kingsley Davis, Illegitimacy and the Social Structure, 45 AM. JR. SOCIOLOGY 215,
219 (1939). Davis and many others defended the unequal treatment of nonmarital
children under the law as a necessary means to promote what they considered to be
best for society and for children.
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Although some states, around the middle of the twentieth century, enacted
additional reforms aimed at reducing the number and impact of legal disabilities on
nonmarital children (by, for example, permitting them to inherit from both their
mothers and fathers), there were still, by the 1960s, many laws on the books that
denied benefits to children born outside of marriage. See generally Harry D.
Krause, Equal Protection for the Illegitimate, 65 MICH. L. REV. 477 (1967). In
1967, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to one of those laws:
Louisianas refusal to allow nonmarital children the opportunity to sue in tort for
the wrongful deaths of their mothers, a right the State made available to marital
children. Levy v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68 (1968).
In its brief to the Court in Levy, the State made clear that it believed it was
entirely appropriate to impose unequal burdens on nonmarital children in order to
achieve its understanding of what constituted family optimality. As its brief
explained, superior rights of legitimate offspring are inducements or incentives to
parties to contract marriage, which is preferred by Louisiana as the setting for
producing offspring. Brief of Attorney General, State of Louisiana, Levy v.
Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68 (1968), at 45.
The Court in Levy refused to accept the States reasoning by concluding
simply that treating nonmarital children differently because of the circumstances of
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their birth was a form of invidious discrimination. Levy, 391 U.S. at 7172. The
Court pointed out that those children, when they became adults, were subject to the
same legal obligations as everyone else, and yet the State denied them rights and
benefits enjoyed by their fellow citizens. Such differential treatment was prohibited
by the constitutional mandate requiring equal protection for all. Id.
Three years after Levy, the constitutionality of another Louisiana statute, one
that precluded nonmarital children from inheriting from their fathers if legitimate
children also claimed an inheritance, reached the Court in Labine v. Vincent, 401
U.S. 532 (1971). The state of Louisiana once again argued that the differential
treatment of nonmarital children was a necessary means to achieve the end of
promoting marriage and the nuclear family. Brief of Attorney General for the State
of Louisiana, Labine v. Vincent, 401 U.S. 532 (1971), at 3 (claiming that laws
which favor legitimate children over illegitimate children . . . strengthen the idea
of a family unit to discourage the promiscuous bearing of children out of wedlock.
Whether this is good or bad it seems is a sociological question and not a legal
one.). Laws that denied benefits to nonmarital children, the State explained, are
based on the proposition that the family is a critical unit of society. Id. at 4. The
government added that the statutes in question encourage marriage and family
ties. Id.
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The year after Labine, the Supreme Court in Weber v. Aetna Casualty &
Surety Company addressed the constitutionality of a statute that denied workmen
compensation benefits to the nonmarital children of employees. Weber v. Aetna
Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164 (1972). The Weber Court held that whatever
interests the government might have in promoting marriage and discouraging the
birth of nonmarital children, they were not advanced by denying workmen
compensation benefits to those children. This was because, as the Court explained,
it was irrational to believe that individuals would shun illicit relations simply
because their children might someday be denied access to particular benefits. Id. at
173.
After Weber, governments ceased defending the differential treatment of
nonmarital children based on the need to encourage procreation within marital
families and to discourage other family forms. Instead, government defendants
focused on narrower justifications for the differential treatment, including the
administrative difficulties of establishing paternity in the absence of marriage and
the need to discourage spurious claims for government benefits. See e.g., Lalli v.
Lalli, 439 U.S. 259, 268 (1978) (noting that the State has a considerable interest
arising from the peculiar problems of proof in paternal inheritance cases
involving nonmarital children); Jimenez v. Weinberger, 417 U.S. 628, 63334
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(1974) (government defended provision denying benefits to nonmarital children of
disabled parents born after onset of disability on the ground that it prevented
spurious claims). Government defendants had to narrow significantly their
justifications for the differential treatment of nonmarital children because the
Supreme Court grew increasingly skeptical of efforts to deny individuals benefits
because of the circumstances of their birth. See, e.g., Clark v. Jeter, 486 U.S. 456
(1988); New Jersey Welfare Rights Org. v. Cahill, 411 U.S. 619 (1973); Gomez v.
Perez, 409 U.S. 535 (1973).
In both the case of race-based marital restrictions and of the differential
treatment of nonmarital children, the Supreme Court rejected the effort to defend
discriminatory marriage laws and policies based on the need to maximize social
welfare and family optimality. Although those efforts were frequently grounded in
purported scientific facts relating to the well-being of society and children, the
Court ultimately saw them for what they were: unconstitutionally impermissible
ways of privileging the rights and interests of some over those of others.
CONCLUSION
Although class-based marital exclusions have been relatively rare in American
history, they have usually shared one characteristic: Proponents of those laws have
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attempted to justify them by making pseudo-scientific claims about how best to
maximize social welfare and child well-being. The courts, as well as the broader
society, eventually came to understand that such efforts were constitutionally
impermissible, morally unacceptable, and empirically indefensible. The deeply
troubling ways in which class-based marital policies and restrictions have been
defended in the past should lead this Court to be highly skeptical of the effort to
deny same-sex couples the opportunity to marry in order to purportedly promote
the well-being of society and of children. The decisions below should be affirmed.
Dated: June 16, 2014
Respectfully submitted,
Professor Carlos A. Ball

-and-

Of counsel
DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON LLP
By: s/ Jyotin Hamid
Jyotin Hamid
jhamid@debevoise.com
Joseph Rome
jbrome@debevoise.com
919 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10022
(212) 909-1031
Attorneys for Professor Carlos A. Ball

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CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
Pursuant to Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 29(d) and 32(a)(7)(C) the
undersigned hereby certifies that:
1. This brief complies with the type volume limitation of Fed. R. App. P.
32(a)(7)(B) because this brief contains 5,888 words, excluding the parts of the
brief exempted by Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7)(B)(iii), which is less than one half of
the 14,000 word limit for the principle briefs.
2. This brief complies with the typeface requirements of Fed. R. App. P.
32(a)(5) and the type style requirements of Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(6) because this
brief has been prepared in a proportionally spaced typeface using Microsoft Word
in 14-point Times New Roman.
Dated: June 16, 2014



Respectfully submitted,
DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON LLP
By: /s/ Joseph Rome______
Joseph Rome
919 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10022
(212) 909-1031
Attorneys for Professor Carlos A. Ball

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I certify that the within Brief of Amicus Curiae Professor Carlos Ball in
Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees has been electronically filed with the Clerk of the
Court on June 16, 2014. All attorneys of record are ECF filers and will receive
service by electronic means pursuant to Rule 4 of this Courts Rules Governing
Electronic Filing.
/s/ Joseph Rome
DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON LLP
Jyotin Hamid, Esq.
Joseph Rome, Esq.
919 Third Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022
(212) 909-6000
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae
Professor Carlos A. Ball

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